On the morning of September 11, 2001, when I heard the news, I tried to log on to CNN.com but could not do so because of all the heavy traffic online. The site simply jammed up.
After work, I drove home, listening to National Public Radio out of Buffalo, NY.
I do not own a television. I had not yet viewed any footage of the disaster although I had seen a fair amount of still photographs. That evening, I made a vow to myself that, as much as possible, I was not going to watch any film or videos of what happened that morning. There was no escaping the images of the smoking and collapsing towers but, to the best of my ability, I was going to block the sight of the actual impact of the jets from my mind.
It has been ten years since that day and I have been good to my word. For ten years, I’ve managed to avoid seeing what hundreds of millions of people around the world have witnessed countless times. My mind remains unpolluted by that ugliness.
I know that both television and radio are going to focus much of the weekend on the 9/11 disaster and maybe that is as it should be.
As for me, I see no psychological or emotional benefit to having to go through a replay of what happened that morning. I do not see any advantage to watching the crashes over and over and over… of seeing the towers fall again and again.
Others may… but it’s not for me.
In my mind, the way I choose to commemorate that tragic event is to go on with my life as if 9/11 never happened and to act as if there was no Al Qaeda, no Osama bin Laden, and no such thing as a large population of people who want me dead not for what I did… but for who I am.
This past May, my children, Exhibits One and Two, went to Israel. Was there a chance that they would be hurt or killed by terrorists. Yes. Was I worried for their safety? Of course. Last month, my daughter, Exhibit One, spent almost all of August in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. Was there a chance she could have been hurt or killed by terrorists? Yes. Was I worried that she would be alright? Of course.
G-d willing, within the next 12 to 24 months, my children will be emigrating to Israel. Will they both be completely safe from terrorism or war? That seems highly unlikely. Would I dream of talking either of them out of it. No way. Not a chance.
They want me to come too… to be in Israel with them so that we can all live close by and be a family together there. Will I go? Will I put myself in danger to be there with them, to be in the world’s only Jewish country, to live in a place I want to be and need to be even though it means putting myself in danger? Of course.
For me, the real lesson of 9/11 is not to re-live the horrors of that day… but to live on and to move forward with my life as if that day never happened.
To live in fear… to hide and cower and look over my shoulder and worry constantly? That is not a life that I care to live.